The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday suspended five cricketers, T.P. Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Shalabh Srivatsava and Amit Yadav (both Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali (Delhi Giants in the erstwhile Indian Cricket League) from all forms of the game till a special panel completes a preliminary enquiry into alleged corrupt deals.
Following a sting operation by news channel India TV that showed these cricketers allegedly entering into murky, illicit practices, an emergency meeting of the IPL Governing Council, via video-conferencing, was convened.
After deliberations lasting around six hours, the Council said Ravi Sawani, head of BCCI's anti-corruption wing, would table his findings in 15 days.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said Board president N. Srinivasan had “immediately” appointed Mr. Sawani (retired CBI officer and former Head of Anti Corruption and Security Unit, ICC) as the Commissioner to make a preliminary inquiry as per Rule 32 (ii) of the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of BCCI on the involvement of players in illegal activities or activities against the interests of the BCCI and the game.
The Commissioner's report would be forwarded to the BCCI's Disciplinary Committee for a probe.
Pune Warriors suspend Mishra
Meanwhile, Mishra has been suspended by Pune Warriors. The franchise said: “Mohnish accepted that the statements made by him on camera were made casually to develop his value or maybe he wanted to be pompous in front of others. He has not received any amount in cash from Sahara. He has apologised for his frivolous and incorrect statements. He will not take any further part in the IPL.”
Through secret cameras and recorded telephonic conversations — an undercover reporter posed as a representative of a player management firm — the channel alleged the cricketers were willing to accept money for deliberate no-balls in domestic matches including the IPL or allegedly sought under-the-table IPL deals that far exceeded the cap for uncapped players (the domestic players who had not played international cricket for India).
When the story broke on Monday, Mr. Srinivasan said, if there was any truth in it, “we would take action.” And IPL COO Sundar Raman requested for the complete footage of the tape.
Sudhindra allegedly wanted Rs. 40,000 for bowling a no-ball. The channel showed the paceman overstepping by a huge margin in an Indore T20 league match. Srivatsava, a left-arm seamer, was recorded on telephone, allegedly demanding Rs. 10 lakh for sending down a no-ball in an IPL game.
Mohnish Mishra, a top-order batsman, allegedly revealed he had been paid Rs. 1.50 crore by Pune Warriors, while the maximum salary cap for an uncapped domestic Indian cricketer was Rs. 30 lakh. Sahara India, the franchise owner, has denied paying money in black to buy Mishra.
The 28-year-old Sudhindra was the highest wicket-taker in the last Ranji Trophy season with 40 scalps at 18.70 bowling for Madhya Pradesh. And the 28-year-old Mishra, who too turns out for the same State, made 470 runs at 47.00. The 30-year-old Srivatsava, who represents Uttar Pradesh, has 130 first class wickets.
Srivatsava denied the allegations and said he would initiate legal action against the television channel.
Editor-in-Chief and Chairman of India TV Rajat Sharma stood by the story. He said “we have been vindicated by the fact that the BCCI has suspended five players.” He added “as far as my knowledge goes, no member of Indian cricket team is involved in any wrongdoing.”